Celtics ready to step up with Bradley sidelined

Celtics ready to step up with Bradley sidelined

ATLANTA – The injury bug is once again making its way through the Boston Celtics roster and the timing – as if there’s ever a good time – could not be any worst.

In addition to not having Avery Bradley (hamstring) for Game 2 and most likely the rest of their first round series against Atlanta, the Celtics are also trying to weather a storm of injuries that includes Kelly Olynyk (right shoulder), Marcus Smart (left index finger which is taped) and Isaiah Thomas (left wrist).

Smart and Thomas’ injuries won’t keep them out of the lineup on Tuesday, and Olynyk’s right shoulder injury, which sidelined him for 12 games earlier this season, isn’t expected to keep him out of the lineup on Tuesday either.

But it has made what was viewed as a challenging series, all that much tougher for Boston. And it has once again put the Celtics into “next man up” mode, which has worked out well for them most of the time.

“You don’t have a choice when you do test it out,” said Evan Turner, referring to Celtics players stepping up for injured teammates. “But we have done it over the past month and a half. The good thing is the young guys, they’ve been able to get a feel, get some rhythm playing because we had a few guys down. Now it’s all about stepping up and playing tough.”

Said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “We have to have others step up. The biggest thing is, we’re playing small anyway. You might have to go even deeper into that, which is okay.”

Among those Stevens will likely turn to with Bradley out, is rookie guard Terry Rozier.

Rozier, the 16th pick in last June’s NBA draft by the Celtics, appeared in 39 regular season games (17 of the last 19) for the Celtics, averaging 1.8 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.

Look for the rookie to see his first playoff action on Tuesday night.

“Things like this have happened all my life,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “I have an opportunity. It’s up to me to make the most of it.”

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

NBC Sports Boston Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

1:31 - With the results of Kyrie Irving’s second opinion on he knee looming, the Celtic’s season is certainly up in the air. A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Mannix, Kyle Draper and Gary Tanguay debate how and if Kyrie should be used if he returns.

6:02 - Back in October Michael Felger prematurely said the Bruins season was over. The B’s marketing team featured Felger in an ad for playoff tickets now that the Bruins have clinched the playoffs. Felger, Trenni and Gary react to the commercial and discuss the Bruins playoff chances.

11:47 - The Patriots are making moves! on Tursday the Pats made deals with LaAdrian Waddle, Marquis Flowers and Patrick Chung. Phil Perry, Michael Holley, Troy Brown and Tom Curran discuss how despite these moves, the Patriots should still be in search of a left tackle.

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

File Photo

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

BOSTON – We live in a world filled with success stories that came about by accident. 

The invention of the microwave oven.

Post-It notes.

The creation of potato chips.

The Boston Celtics’ game-winning play against Oklahoma City earlier this week qualfies; a play in which there were multiple miscues made by the Celtics prior to Marcus Morris’ game-winning shot. 


All these Celtics injuries have made Brad Stevens a mad scientist of sorts with some unusual lineups that may be on display tonight against the guard-centric Portland Trail Blazers. 

In Boston’s 100-99 win over the Thunder on Tuesday, we saw Stevens utilize a lineup with Al Horford and Greg Monroe, in four different stints.

Monroe, who had 17 points off the bench - the most he has scored as a Celtic -  enjoyed playing with Horford.

“Al’s so smart. He’s seen it all in this league,” Monroe told NBC Sports Boston. “He’s an all-star. Very cerebral player, unselfish. So it’s easy playing with him. He can space, drive, make plays. I feel like I can make plays, driving. It’s fun playing with him. I look forward to getting out there with him more.”

Horford had similar praise for playing with Monroe.

“Coach (Brad Stevens) made a great move bringing Greg back in, in the fourth, playing us together,” Horford said. “He made some great plays, passing the ball and just … timely plays. It’s one of those things, the more we play with each other the more comfortable we’ll get. I thought it was very positive.”

Monroe’s role has become significantly more important with the season-ending injury (torn meniscus, left knee) to Daniel Theis. And his ability to play well with various lineups will only improve Boston’s chances of weathering this latest storm of injuries which comes on the eve of the playoffs. 

And while there’s a certain amount of pleasure all players take in being on a playoff-bound team, Monroe understands better than most NBA veterans just how special it is to be headed towards the postseason.

In his eighth season, this will only be Monroe’s second time participating in the playoffs. 

The first time? 

That was last year, with the Milwaukee Bucks. 

“This is what everybody plays for, I hope,” Monroe said. “This is what I play for, to get into the postseason, make a run. It’s the best situation. I’ve been through a lot in my career, this year. I’m grateful. I don’t take anything for granted. I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team.”

And he has done that lately.

Monroe comes into tonight’s game having scored in double figures each of the last four games, a season high for the 6-foot-11 center. 

Having spent most of his NBA career watching instead of participating in the playoffs, Monroe is out to prove that he can in fact be a significant contributor to a team that’s postseason-bound.

“For sure. You have to have a little chip, a little fire, at least in my eyes,” Monroe said. “I’ve never doubted myself. It’s about being between those lines and being the best player I can be. That’s what I’m focused on.”